Stephen A. Smith might be the most recognizable opinionist in sports media, but apparently, he also adopted the role of policing the industry’s hot takes.
Smith joined Jim Gray and Tom Brady on this week’s episode of their Let’s Go! podcast for SiriusXM. Brady began the interview by lauding Smith’s sports media prowess and asking the First Take host about his unique ability to follow every sport enough to offer educated opinions that are valued by the masses. During Smith’s nearly three-minute-long response, he explained that not only is he a content creator in the sports media industry, but he polices other people’s attempts at creating unsubstantiated hot takes for attention.
“I came up in an age where there was no clickbait,” Smith said. “There was no social media. We had to go out there and you had to cultivate relationships and really get inside…that was before social media. And so all of that stuff I carry with me to the modern day and what I find myself embracing is that police mentality.
“You got people that want to be bloggers and they talk as if they know, but they haven’t cultivated any relationships, they have no connections, they don’t know what the hell they’re talking about,” Smith continued. “And I’m the guy that reels it in and says, ‘This makes sense, that doesn’t. This is crossing the line, that’s not.’ And I pride myself on playing that role that makes sure that we’re policing each other, rather than trying to focus on policing y’all.”
Some may argue Smith’s prominent presence in sports media has contributed to the industry’s inherent need to create outrageous hot takes. Throughout his career, Smith has made ridiculous declarations such as Michael Jordan was bad for basketball, Shohei Ohtani can’t be the face of MLB, and women’s soccer players don’t want to mess up their hair. But just imagine the type of Wild West that sports media would become if he wasn’t out there policing the egregious hot takes.